Experiments & Objects
1979 – 2011
Exhibition Curated by Catherine David and Mohammed Kazem.
This is the first major monographic exhibition of Sharif in the UAE and in Abu Dhabi.
The exhibition begins with the artist’s early experiments and includes many objects as well as series of his conceptual drawings and systemic works.
The exhibition follows on from the ADACH Platform for Visual Arts which was inaugurated at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 and which was designed as a meeting point for discourse and artistic production. A dynamic dispositive of presentations and exchanges which would introduce, through a visual narrative, the conditions in which contemporary culture and visual art are emerging in Abu Dhabi / the UAE today.
Hassan Sharif was one of the artists shown at the ADACH Visual Arts Platform in Venice and further research on his practice will culminate in this monographic exhibition and the upcoming publication about the artist, which will be launched at the Venice Biennale on June 3rd, 2011.
This exhibition is part of ADACH work in research, conservation, interpretation and promotion of the arts, culture and heritage of Abu Dhabi and the UAE including modern culture and heritage. It is ADACH’s mandate to engage with, investigate and present the work of the UAE’s arts and culture pioneers.
Hassan Sharif is a seminal artist who is deeply associated with the modern history and culture of Dubai and of the United Arab Emirates. He is a major figure in the artistic community of the UAE and has developed a strong body of work.
Sharif studied in Great Britain. He first started to draw caricatures producing abundantly and becoming well known for them. A book of his caricatures will be published in 2011. His art practice is experimental and strongly involved with materiality. He uses cotton, textile, metal, chord and plastic in order to create a variety of objects. His choice of materials reflects the production conditions that he lives and works in: a post-modern, post-global society. His materials also reflect different aspects of our time such as mass manufacturing, for example, through his use of cardboard and packaging – thus also reflecting an interest in human activity, not just his own process of art making but also that of others in other fields.
The centrality of the process of “making” is clear in Sharif’s art practice: it is a precise, painstaking process, often involving repetitive actions and motions in the knotting, folding, wrapping and tying of various materials. Sharif’s work reflects his intentional “doing” and “making” and his consciousness of the conditions that he works in. Historically, his work did not have much public visibility in the UAE, yet he often represented the Emirates abroad. One gets a sense of this paradox and others in his work.
Catherine David studied Linguistics and History of Art at the Université de la Sorbonne and Ecole du Louvre in Paris. From 1982 to 1990 she was Curator at the Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou and from 1990 to 1994 she was Curator at Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, both in Paris, where she organized several monographs and group exhibitions including: Lothar Baumgarten; Passages de L’Image; Stan Douglas:Monodramas and Television Spots; Marcel Broodthaers; Helio Oiticica; Robert Gober; Jeff Wall and Chantal Ackerman: D’Est, among others. From 1994 to 1997 David served as Artistic Director for documenta X in Kassel, Germany, and from 1998 on is Director of the long-term project Contemporary Arab Representations produced by Tàpies Foundation in Barcelona. In 2000 she organized The State of Things for Kunst Werke, Berlin. Between 2002 and 2004 David was Director of the Witte de With Rotterdam in the Netherlands. In 2005-2006 she was fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. In 2007 she organized a monograph exhibition of Bahman Jalali at Tàpies Fondation in Barcelona and an interdisciplinary event: Di/Visions: Culture and Politics of the Middle East at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. In 2008 she received the Bard Award for curatorial excellence. In 2009 she was curator of the ADACH ( Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage) pavilion at Venice Biennal.
Mohammed Kazem born in Dubai, he studied art in Sharjah and music in Dubai, before venturing into the art world as an artist and curator. In the context of UAE he was one of the pioneers to work with video and new technologies. He has held solo and group exhibitions in France and Germany besides the UAE, and curatorial projects including the 2007 Sharjah Biennial of contemporary Art.